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Simple Roy Lichtenstein Style in Illustrator and Photoshop

I have been playing with the Halftone filter in Photoshop for the past few weeks and trying different things we can do with it. I also discover the Width Tool in Illustrator CS 5 and it was a great surprise because now we have much more freedom when playing with strokes. So with these two things in mind I decided that I had to create an image using them, and then the idea of a design inspired in Roy Lichtenstein. There are quite a few tutorials showing how to create this type of image, but I decided to try it myself. I haven't checked any tutorial because I wanted to play with the tools, so the technique might be the same as other tutorials but I really don't know. Besides I think a tutorial on Roy's style is always a great add to the tutorials section of Abduzeedo. Roy Lichtenstein (October 27, 1923 – September 29, 1997) was a prominent American pop artist. His work was heavily influenced by both popular advertising and the comic book style. He himself described pop art as, "not 'American' painting but actually industrial painting". - Wikipedia Step 1 Let's start the tutorial in Illustrator. Open Illustrator and import the photo you will apply the effect. The one I'm using is courtesy of Shutterstock and you can find it here. Step 2 In Illustrator, select the Pencil Tool (N) and start drawing over the photo using it as references. I started off with the eyes. I also use the Ellipse Tool (L) for the pupils. Step 3 Keep drawing with the Pencil Tool (N) and with the Pen Tool (P) when you need more precision, however it doesn't need to be super perfect. Step 4 With the Pencil Tool (N) create the contour of her hair. Step 5 Stll with the Pencil Tool (N) add some details for her hair. Step 6 Here I have all the vector elements I drew to create the girl. You can add more if you want, it will depend on the photo you are using. Step 9 Get rid of the photo and start playing with the vectors only. Here you can see all the elements without any color and the same stroke size. Step 10 One of the best tools in the Illustrator CS5 is the Width Tool (Shift+W). You can change the width of parts of the stroke, it's fantastic. Step 11 Still with the Width Tool (Shift+W) play with the strokes on her hair and hands. Use the image below for reference. Step 12 Time to add some colors. I used beige for the skin, yellow for the hair, white for the eyes and black for the details. For her blouse I used green. Step 13 Now let's go to Photoshop. Open Photoshop and import a paper texture to use for reference. The one I'm using is courtesy of Shutterstock and you can find it here. Step 14 Import the girl photo too. We will use it for reference for the vectors from Illustrator. It will also be used to create the halftones. Also change the Blend Mode of the layer to Multiply. Step 15 Mask the photo of the girl so it will be over the paper area only. The best way to do that so we can use the same mask for other layers is to create a group and mask the group in Photoshop. Step 16 Add a new layer beneath the layer girl but still inside the folder with the mask. Change the Blend Mode of the new layer to Multiply and fill it with Cyan. Step 17 Copy the vectors from Illustrator and paste them in Photoshop. I used Smart Objects for the option when paste it because that way I can change the vectors anytime I want and see the results in Photoshop. As you can see in the image below I changed the Opacity of the Layer to 70% so I can adjust the position more easily . Step 18 Once you find the right alignment change the opacity back to 100%. Step 19 Reorder the layers so the photo of the girl is on top of the vector layer. After that go to Image>Adjustments>Desaturate. You will have a black and greyscale photo now. After that go to Image>Adjustments>Levels. Change the Black Inputs to 60 and the White Inputs to 195. After that change the Blend Mode to Multiply. Step 20 Go to Filter>Pixelate>Color Halftone. Use 15 for the Max. Radius and 199 for the channel values. Tip: Depending on the size of your design the Max. Radius will have to be different. Step 21 Here is the image after the halftone filter. It's almost done but there are a few details to work on so the image gets that old/vintage look. Also the halftones are over the teeth and the eyes so we have to fix that. Step 22 Duplicate the paper layer and just move it on top of the others. After that Change the Blend Mode to Linear Burn. Conclusion Here is the final design. As you can see I clean the halftones over her eyes and mouth and also added a diagonal pattern in the background. This design was just an experiment using halftones to create a Roy Lichtenstein inspired design. I'm working on some new designs where I go a little bit further with this technique, but as you could see, the halffones and the vectors with the paper textures do a pretty decent job in recreating Roy's incredible style. Download the Photoshop File Click here to download the Photoshop file used for this tutorial

Beautiful Vector Illustration in Illustrator and Photoshop by Carol Rivello

Hey guys! For this tutorial/making of I created a fun illustration for my sister Stella's blog. In her blog she writes about funny daily situations and I thought that it would be nice to develop an illustration that expressed that somehow. I hope that this step by step help the new designers and illustrators. So, prepare yourself, and continue reading because even though it is a quite long post I hope it might be useful for your illustration projects. Also, feel free to share your thoughts with comments. Step 1 - Brainstorming ftw When I’m creating an illustration for someone, I like to make a brainstorm and write down stuff that person likes, to create a moodboard and capture her personality in the drawing. In my sisters case, for example, Italy, Trips and Pasta were mandatory in the illustration. In this step I also make preliminary roughs, testing new shapes and interesting compositions. Step 2 - Roughs, Sketches & Drawings After I pick the elements that will be part of the final illustration, and develop an initial graphic style, I start the rough that will be used as a direct reference for the vector. In this step I like to use a lot of details to simulate strokes and vector gradients. Lots of people ditch this part and go straight to the computer, but I personally prefer to create first in the paper. No only I feel more creative, it’s also a pretty good excuse to leave the computer for a change. Step 3 - Vector madness After I finish the rough, it’s time to scan it. (0r take a picture of it, if the paper it’s too big for your scanner). Then, I place the jpg file into a vectorial illustration software. My favorite software is illustrator, but feel free to use the one you like the most. Right now I only care about making the strokes and outlines, leaving the colors and filling for later. I recommend using a color that contrast with your sketch, to help you visualize it. In this case i chose a red stroke. Step 4 I like Illustrator because it offers you a ton of cool resources to help your vectorizing process. A solution that I often use is called Pattern Brush. Instead of drawing a whole flower, for example, you can make just one petal, turn that petal into a patten brush, create a shape with that outline, and achieve fun results! This tip is specially useful to illustrators that prefers abstract compositions, like me. Step 5 - Cleaning up the house After I finally finish the whole vector madness, I spend a little while organizing the file, putting the objects into the right order. All this to help the next step, that I consider to be the hardest part… Step 6 - Choosing Colors The moment to chose the colors and paint the illustration is the hardest and longest part to me. In this project I was inspired by the italy flag colors, mixed with the vibrant colors of the brazilian flag, all this with a vintage look and feel. In this step I also develop some gradients and chose the textures that I’ll use later. My tip is to take a look at the patterns from illustrator, hidden inside Swatches » Patterns » Basic Graphics. Step 7 - Color Groups & Inspiration A great site to search for color inspiration is colourlovers.com. There you can search between endless palettes developed by their creative users. After I chose my color palette, I find really usefull to create a new color group with the chosen tones. Step 8 - Almost there Sneak peek of the coloring process. Step 9 - Typography Choosing a font to use in the illustration is really fun! I love to test lots of combinations and to “hunt” for new fonts. The problem is that I get *too* excited in this step, and sometimes I download 30 fonts, and later I simply can’t decide which one to use. For this illustration I imagined a strong, bold and modern font, making a visual contrast with a script font. Step 10 When you are going to use the same shape over and over again, a good tip is to use the symbol tool. You make a motion clip, and spread the object in your comp, according to your preset. With the tool’s options you can increase or decrease the symbol, change it’s opacity, position, etc. This way you don’t have to duplicate and reposition the object manually. Step 11 - Blending Modes After I fill al my shapes with my chosen colors, I like to refine the composition with gradients and textures. Some illustrations look better with solid colors, but in this case I decided to use gradients to create more volume. One secret to a visually rich comp is to test different textures and blending modes. My fav ones are: multiply, overlay and softlight. I also like to play with different opacities. Step 12 - Photoshop After I finish the vector process, I export my work for a final polishing in Photoshop. At photoshop I mix the vector with bitmap images, to achieve a more organic feel. I also use the adjustment layers e test some colors adjustments, levels, curves, etc. And use brushes. Step 13 - Don’t be messy It’s common to make a lot of layers in Photoshop, and It’s really easy to lose yourself in the mess. Try to avoid that, and keep a file with the layers named in an appropriate manner and use organized layer groups. Step 14 - Brushes and Scribbles With the idea to create an organic look in mind, I blended the original vector illustrations with hand drawn scribbles, to create a hybrid composition. I also added brushes, colorful gradients, all in separated layers, preserving the original illustration. Conclusion And that’s it. Now It’s time to create the rest of the layout… But thats for another making of. Thanks for reading the whole post! If you want to read more nonsense from me, or for more cool tips and random links, feel free to follow me on twitter: www.twitter.com/carolrivello. About the Author I’m Carol Rivello, a graphic designer who loves to work with web design, art direction and illustration. Now I live in Florianópolis, a pretty island located in the south of Brazil, and just started to work as a freelancer. I love pigs, I have more than 300 of them. I also love: Internet, Music, Traveling, Movies, TV Shows, Illustration, Sketch Books, Motion Design, Home Decor, T-shirts, Pigs, Chocolate, Ice cream , Birds, Clouds, Sun, Sea and almost everything from the 80’s. For more information visit my site at http://www.carolrivello.com/

Photoshop Battle Poster in Illustrator

Back in 2007 I was in a design event with Fabiano Meneghetti, my business partner at Zee, and Thiago Bizarro, an old friend of mine, and we started talking about organizing a design event. During this conversation we came up with this crazy idea of creating a battle of designers in which they would compete against one another in a sort of fight style. It was heavily inspired by the Bloodsport movie starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. Now after 3 years this event will finally happen and I had to create an artwork for the poster of the event, and that is what I want to share with you. So in this tutorial I will show you how I created the poster of the Photoshop Battle event using Illustrator. The idea behind it was that it would have to have that sort of old boxing posters style using only text and basic shapes like rectangles and stars. During the process I ended up adding some extra elements, martial arts fighters, in order to give that cheesy look that I was looking for :) Before the tutorial however let's watch the trailer of the Bloodsport movie, just to get in the mood to create the poster. If you are in Porto Alegre, or even if you want to participate of the Photoshop Battle event, visit the site for more information: http://www.battleofphotoshop.com.br/ Step 1 Open Illustrator and create a new document, the size I used was A3. After that using the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle with the size of the canvas. Fill the rectangle with a dark brown (#383434). Step 2 Apply a stroke for to the brown rectangle, for the color use white and for the size use 30 pt. Step 3 Start placing the logo, in my case the Abduzeedo logo using white for the color. All the objects we will add will be in white. Step 4 With the Rectangle Tool (M) add 2 rectangles one on the top of the other but the one at the top with half of the height. Also make the space between them very small. Step 5 In order to add some martial arts feeling to the design I imported a vector file with a karate fighter doing a kicking move. The file is courtesy of Shutterstock and you can find it here . Using only one of the two fighters place one on the left thand duplicate it and go to Object>Reflect. Choose Vertical for the Axis. Move the second fighter to the right. Step 6 With the Type Tool (T) add the text "Presents", I used Georgia Italic for the font. After that with the Rectangle Tool (M) create a brown rectangle and postion in between the text and the 2 rectangles. Select all elements and align them with the Horizontal Align Center option. Step 7 With the Type Tool (T) add another text, this time the word "Photoshop" using Helvetica Neue Light for the font. For the size, resize it until it is the same width as the double white lines. Step 8 Again with the Type Tool (T) add the word Battle, this time using Helvetica Neue Bold for the font. The size will be proportinal to the width of the rectangles. Step 9 Apply a stroke to the Battle text. I used 5 pts in white. Step 10 Go to Type>Create Outlines in order to convert the editable text to objects so you will be able to edit the points and move each characters independently. The first thing to do is connect them so, move the E until it connects with the L, the same with the Ts with the A and L, but in the case of the T and A you will have to use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to move the vertices of the top right part of the T to connect with the A. Step 11 Using another vector file of a fighter, you can find it here, place it in the middle of the A. Use the same brown as the background. You also can see that the B and A are connected, to do that use the Pen Tool (P) and create an object to connect them. Step 12 Select the objects of the battle word and the fighter and group them. Move this group down a little bit. Select the Star Tool and create one start. Place it on the left between the words Photoshop and Battle. After that duplicate it and move it to the other side. Step 13 With the Blend Tool (W) click in one star then on the other one to create a blend object. With the blend object selected just double click on the icon of the Blend Tool to open the Blend Options. Use Specified Steps for the Spacing and 14 for the number of Steps. Step 14 Again with the Rectangle Tool (M) create a line below the word Battle, then duplicate this line by dragging it down holding the Alt key. Step 15 Between the two lines create another blend objects made out of starts, this time use smaller stars. Also, go select the two lines and the blend object of stars and go to Window>Align to open the aling options. Select the Vertical Distribute Space over the Distribute Spacing Options. Step 16 Now let's add some cheesy text to describe the event, the text I'm using is the text that was in the poster of the Bloodsport movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme from the late 80's. The movie is a classic of the action movies and it was about this fighter that went to a secret martial arts contest called Kumite. For the font I used the same as the Presents word, Georgia Italic, but with a much smaller size. Step 17 Duplicate one of the lines that we created on the step 14 and move it to below the text. Again with the Vertical Distribute Space option organize your composition so the vertical space among ojects are uniform. Step 18 Importa a paper texture and place it on top of the other layers. After that go to Window>Transparency. Change the mode from Normal to Multiply. The texture I'm using is from Shutterstock and you can find it here. Step 19 Let's add another texture, this time I used a texture from Shutterstock called Grunge Texture Background, you can find it here. Place it on top of the other layers and once again, over the Transparency option, change it from Normal to Multiply. Conclusion Group the objects and align them in the center of the poster. You can make some adjustments like in the spacing among object or some object sizes, but the composition is done. As you could see it was done using just rectangles with text and the Blend Tool to create the set of starts. The most important thing here in my opinion was the idea of the composition because the process of creating it was pretty easy. Download the Illustrator File Click here to download the Illustrator file used for this tutorial.

Cool Typography with the Blend Tool in Illustrator

I have written some Illustrator tutorials in which I've used the Blend Tool to create swirls and other shapes, but I have never used it to create a text effect. Then we received this email suggestion from one of our readers quite a few months ago asking us how to create that effect. I really like the text effect and decided to give it a try. So in this tutorial I will show you how to create a text effect using the Blend Tool in Illustrator and then we will use Photoshop for some final retouches to make the effect more subtle. The technique is very simple and it won't take more than 30 minutes to achieve the same effect. Step 1 Open Illustrator and create a new document. I used A4 for the size, but it is not really important because we will copy the illustrator vector and paste it in Photoshop later on. With the Pen Tool (P) create a Z with just a few points. Every time you create a new anchor point, hold the mouse button to transform it to a curve. Step 2 Duplicate the Z and move it down a little bit. Step 3 Select the Blend Tool (W), then click on one of the segments and then on the other to create the blend object. Step 4 With the blend object selected double click on the Blend Tool icon or go to Object>Blend>Blend Options. Change the Spacing to Specified Steps using 15 steps. Step 5 With the Direct Selection Tool (A) start moving some anchor points to change the blend object, the idea here is to add some movement to the letter Z. Step 6 Now let's create the other letters, in my design I used the name of my design studio, Zee. Repeat the same thing we did in the Step 2, 3 and 4. Step 7 Apply the Blend Tool (W) for the letters E. Once again, with the Direct Selection Tool (A) move some anchor points to make the necessary adjustments in order to make the design smoother. Step 8 With the Direct Selection Tool (A) you can select the 2 lines of the Blend Object and change their colors, below you can see 2 examples with blue and pink and yellow and pink. Step 9 Copy the blend object in Illustrator and then paste it in Photoshop to make some adjustments. Then in Photoshop with the Eraser Tool(E) or using mask, use a very soft brush to erase some areas like on the beginning of the letter Z (1). To the end part you will have to use the Polygonal Lasso Tool(L)(2) to select just the part you want to erase, otherwise you will delete part of the E as well. Then do the same for the end of the second E. (3). Conclusion This tutorial was a reader's suggestion sent to us via email and it's amazing how many things we can do using the Blend Tool in Illustrator, it's a very powerful tool and using it for texts is not that common but the result is really good. Download the Illustrator File Click here to download the Illustrator file used for this tutorial

Playing with Vectors in Illustrator

Last week I decided to spend some time playing with Illustrator and trying to come up with a cool black and white artwork. My inspiration came from some skateboard deck designs which have this sort of 3D effect without using gradients or anything, and not exactly a woodcut effect either. After a few hours I was able to come up with a really nice design, but the most important thing, the whole process was an excellent way to improve my Illustrator techniques. So in this tutorial or walking through process I will show you how I created my design, but first check out my very first sketch. I know I suck at that... but it always helps a lot Step 1 Create a new document in Illustrator, I'm using a web format with 1920x1200 pixels. After that add a black rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M). This rectangle will be beneath all the other new objects, you can even create a new layer (Window>Layer) move it into this layer and lock the layer so you won't be able to edit it. Step 2 With the Ellipse Tool (L) add a white ellipse in the center of the black rectangle. To do that go to Window>Align, then select the objects and click Horizontal Align Objects and Vertical Align Objects. Step 3 Add another circle a little smaller the the first one, using white for the color and black for the stroke. Also use 4pt for the Stroke weight. Step 4 Once again add an ellipse using the Ellipse Tool (L) and fill it with black. It will be smaller than the others. After that aligned it in the center using the Align options. Duplicate this ellipse. We will need one that will be always beneath the new elements and another to be used to create some vector bevel effects. Step 5 Duplicate one of the black ellipse from the previous step and move it down a little bit, like the image below. Fill it with white. Select the both ellipses and go to Window>Pathfinder. Select the second options on the Shape Modes, the Minus Front. Step 6 Repeat the same process we did in the steps 4 and 5 but with smaller circles. Look at the image below for reference, 1 is from steps 4-5 and 2 is from this step, Also the red circles are for reference. Step 7 Duplicate both elements and flip them vertically. The idea is that these elements will be used to create a sort of bevel and give some depth to the illustration. Step 8 Add anohter ellipse, this time a white ellipse in the center of the design. Step 9 Create another black ellipse in the center smaller than the previous one. Use the image below for reference. Step 10 Duplicate the ellipse from the previous step and align them in the center, after that resize the ellipse a little bit and move it up a few pixels so the top part will be thinner than the bottom. Step 11 Once again, repeat the same thing as the previous steps 9 and 10, but make it thicker, as I said in the beginning this tutorial is all about playing with the tool. Step 12 Create a triangle using the Polygon Tool. Fill it with black. Resize it to get a triangle like the one I have in the image below. Step 13 With the triangle selected, press ENTER to open the Move Dialog Box. Use 10px for the Horizontal and 0px for the Vertical. Then press COPY. Step 14 Now press Command (MAC)/Control(PC) + D several times until you cover the circle from side to side. Step 15 Select the two elements in the very center and start resizing them vertically only. Repeat that for the other elements. Step 16 With the Rectangle Tool (M) create a thin black rectangle (1), then a large one with white(2), another black one (3) and then another white one very thin that will work like a stroke. Group these rectangles so you can use the group to create more elements. Step 17 Start creating blocks with 4 elements with copies of the group of objects we created in the previous step. Rotate them so none of them will have the same angle. Step 18 Repeate the previous step 7 times. The idea is inspired by those old hubcaps or a bicicle wheel. Notice that all of them have different rotations. Step 19 Add an ellipse to be used as reference for the Type on Path Tool. With the Type on Path Tool click on the ellipse to add the text that will follow that path. I used MOD for the font and 72pt for the font size. Step 20 Now using the same technique we did in the previous step, add more text, this time I used the same font but with smaller size, 48pt. Use the image below for reference. Step 21 Select all the rectangle elements created in the Step 19 and group them, after that duplicate the group, fill it with black and put it beneath the original group. Move the black group to the left and bottom, the idea is to create a shadow for those elements. Conclusion The idea was to play with vectors and create a design that has depth but using only black and white. However I love to place texture over vectors. Here I used an old paper texture, courtesy of Shutterstock and you can get it here. Place the texture on top of the other elements and change the Transparency Mode to Multiply. You will have a really nice effect. This was not exactly a super effect but it was really good to improve my Illustrator skills, that's why I thought it would be cool to share with you. Click on the image for full preview Download the Illustrator File Click here to download the Illustrator file used for this tutorial

How Designers Get Influenced by Music

Music is a very important aspect in design. It can influence your thoughts, ideas, movements & so much more. I had a talk with 10+ awesome designer & Illustrator like Pete Harrison and discussed this topic. Plus you will get some tips about how to use music. For me music is very close together with design. Most of my design ideas come while listening to music. Beats and melody set the mood of my images and lyrics and speed influence my movements when designing. There is no way I can design wihtout music. It also motivates me and entertains when the im bored painting. I decided to gather some opinions and ask several top designer how they got influenced and touched by music. Im happy that I got some really good artists who have been working in the design scene for a couple of time and really know what they are talking about. I asked every one the same question. "How does music inspire you and what music do you listen to, while designing?" Falsify website http://www.sa3s.com To me music is the single biggest inspiration for my art. Whilst designing I listen to things like Commix, Massive Attack and other electronical music. I like digital soundscapes with dark rolling b-lines that build crazy worlds in my head layer by layer. A few months ago whilst listening to Leftfield I had a surge of ideas for a short illustrated story that I am currently working on, these moments are pure gold dust. The hardest part is trying to recreate these feelings and visuals as I see them with my minds eye. This is the running battle...' Magomed Dovjenko website http://iammago.com/ Music inspires me in any aspect - it sets the mood of my work when working while listening to music, it's inspiring the colors and the overall look of my work. Most of the time I listen to Rap/Hip-hop - like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Cassidy, Young Jeezy ,Lil Wayne and so on.I can't work without listening to music - it's just much more fun when you hear those beats banging while you're creating. Anton Shineft website http://clor.net It seems to me, that music and visual art are inseparable parts. As soon as something new and interesting appears in music, styles, directions - the great number of works of modern artists, representing these changes appears. Music is the best help for imagination. I am very inspired by the spirit of such projects as Flying lotus, Fever ray, AFTA 1, Toro Y moi, Lone. In my opinion, that’s a one of the icons of todays zeitgeist. It all reminds me of the presentation of modern people focused on the interaction with the spiritual world. You can clearly see rhythm and direction. It helps me understand some streams. Rik Ooestenbrooek website http://nkeo.deviantart.com/ I cant design without music, music gives me the rest I need while working on a piece. The Type of music depends on the mood I'm in. Back in the days while I made lots of colourfull photomanip's mixed with abstract I used to listen to Vocal trance. The colours I use are basicly based on the type of music I listen. Less colour means more emotive beats, more colour means happy songs" Robert Shields website http://www.robshields.net/ Personally I am obsessed with finding and buying new music every week but I often design in silence. The inspiration I get from music often has more to do with the emotional content or a message that I remember. There is also a coolness factor that comes from music which helps me gauge whether or not an idea I have is over played. Otherwise I don't really feel that the territories exactly overlap. It'd be like saying I have to look at a beautiful picture every time I try to write a song. To me that's really not what its about. ABOVE website: http://goabove.com "Music is an extremely crucial aspect of my day to day life. Not only when I am creating artworks but when I am grocery shopping, digging ditches, or skydiving, music always helps. When I create artworks I aim to have the music X3 times as loud as the high powered electrical tool I use. Table saws can be loud but my James Brown Funk, or Acid Trance House music always sing louder. Sometimes I get carried away and start dancing while I'm painting which can make for some interesting artworks to say the least. I'd rather be deaf than blind, but not being able to hear while looking at live music would be suicidal. I am greatful I still have my 5-senses." Keith Garrison website http://www.behance.net/NoirMaybe Just like most other things in my workspace, I consider music a "tool" of sorts. A lot of times I find it to distracting and can't start or work on a project with it. Other times I need it to give me that boost of energy or keep me from being distracted by my environment. Most of the time I just need it to get in that sort of "Trance" where I barely notice the world around me and soon forget the music is even there. From Ryan Clark, Invisible Creature website http://www.invisiblecreature.com Music is inspiring to me in many ways. It's inspiring to hear people create new and interesting things, and that stimulates my desire to create things of my own, be it something visual or something musical. Music can inspire me subconsciously, playing in the background while I work, and it can also influence me in very specific ways, if I listen intentionally. Sometimes I'll listen to music that may directly correlate to something I'm designing, but ordinarily I just listen to something based on my current mood. Brit pop/rock (ie: Elbow, Doves, The National, White Lies, Editors) is usually the first thing I go to. Pete Harrison website: http://www.aeiko.net/ I listen to a variety of music..and music is always on when im designing. Usually its something fast like drum and bass..something to keep me ticking, recently a lot of hospital stuff - London Elek, High contrast, Mistabishi, Logi, Danny byrd etc...but I also love faster stuff such as Spor, Sigma, Fresh, Sub Focus..its background music but keeps me working, especially in the early hours. I also love chillout and ambient sounds, for example the Desktopography albums, Tycho, Enya, BOC, Nuuro and Freshcut. Sometimes the piece that im working on can influence the taste in music, and I will try and get into the mood of what im designing at the time and just roll from there, feeling the flow. Alex Beltechi http://www.behance.net/alexbeltechi Music and Design are two faces of the same coin for me. An image is something you see, and music is something you hear, though I use both to communicate a message. Just as I appreciate and create images, I listen to and compose music. Nevertheless, I see design as my career and music as my passion. The tablet is my job and the piano key is my hobby, though I do enjoy both very much. I also tend to be critical on both. When I see a poster, I sort of critique it in my head. The same applies for music, and you'd be surprised to see that design principles apply to music as well. They really are one and the same thing, so it's no surprise that so many designers get involved in music, or at least feel a special connection to it. I usually listen to music when I design, because it drives and inspires me. My music choice is usually a range of classical, neoclassical, movie soundtracks or solo piano music. Perttu Murto website http://www.perttumurto.com/ I usually listen music always when I work. It's kind a part of the design project in my opinion! It is a great way to close "the other world" on my mind while I work and helps me concentrate 110% on the artwork itself. I kind a like all kind of music (except R'n'B!) so it's up to my own mood what I am listening while working. It could be really hard rock or some chill out electro stuff. It doesn't really effect to the out come, it just have to be good music! Good music is always inspiring!" Where to listen to music It sometimes appears that everything in your music library you heared thousands of times and you need fresh new stuff or it appears that you dont even have a music library. Well, thanks to the internet there are several ways to get some audible inspiration. There are online music services such as Deezer or Lala, which are really good. My favourite is Grooveshark where you add the song you'd like to listen to, to a current playlist and it's really fast. And now it is your part to tell us what music do you listen to? And how does the music inspire you? Place a comment and I am happy.

Abduzeedo 2010 Logo Design

Every new year I like to try new things with the Abduzeedo logo. In 2009 I changed the typography a little bit, but now that it's 2010 I decided that the blog needed a symbol. That necessity came up when we are finishing the Abduzeedo iPhone app and we needed to have an icon. So in this tutorial/case study I will show you how I created the symbol and what the inspiration behind it was. We will use Adobe Illustrator for the tutorial Inspiration My first idea was to play with a triangle. First because it resembles the abduction light coming from the sky, and second it also resembles an 'A'. Of all plane figures the triangle is both rigid and strong, but the beauty of the equilateral triangle reminds us of those lessons necessary to keep our spiritual building both strong and secure, now and forevermore. Following this idea I looked for references in style. My idea was to create something simple without gradients but with some color overlays. I also didn't want anything rounded, and instead wanted to try something more acute. Also, check out our series of articles about logos called Logos A-Z, especially the first one that is for the letter A - http://abduzeedo.com/logo-design-z Step 1 Open Illustrator and create a new document. The size is not important right now. After that get the Polygon Tool and create a triangle. Step 2 With the Pen Tool (P) create a point in the middle of the base of the triangle. After that with the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the point and move it up like the image below. Step 3 Duplicate the triangle twice. After that rotate one of the copies (1). Select 2 of the triangles, the original and the one you rotated and go to Window>Pathfinder. Select the Minus Front option over the Shape Mode, it's the second. You will have to delete some parts to leave just the ones inside of the original triangle. Step 4 With the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle like from the bottom left to the center of the base (1). After that with the Pen Tool (P) delete and move to create half of the base of the symbol (2). Repeat the same process to create the other half of the base. Use the image below for reference. Step 5 Repeat again the previous step to create the right side. Step 6 It's time to make some adjustments, with the Direct Selection Tool (A) move the points to make the symbol a little bit bolder. Use the image below for reference. Step 7 Now it's time to add some colors. I used 4 basic colors, pink, yellow, green and cyan (1), the order is very important. After that go to Window>Transparency. Select the all objects and change the Transparency mode to Multiply. By doing that there will be 3 new colors, red, dark green and purple. Step 8 Create a new document, I used A4 for the size. Then with the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle to fill the whole page. Change the color of the rectangle to (#383434). Step 9 Copy the symbol from the other document and paste it in the new one with the dark background. As I was using Multiply for the Transparency Mode, the symbol won't be shown. So, change the Transparency mode back to Normal and change the color of the symbol to white. Step 10 Now just paste again the color symbolo and align it to be over the white version. That way the colors will be visible. Conclusion Now let's finish the poster adding the logotype "Abduzeedo" with the slogan "abducted by design". The idea of this little walkthrough was to show you the creative process behind the new symbol we will be using on Abduzeedo now in 2010. We are still working on some new features, so you will start to see this symbol more and more. Also we will have this poster printed in case you want to support the blog, as well as t-shirts. Light Effect version With the icon done I created another version of the poster adding some old school light effects. But this is for the next tutorial.

Reader Tutorial: Geometric Flower Effect Logo in Illustrator

In this tutorial I will show you how I made this nice logo for one of my clients in Czech Republic. Feel free to use it as inspiration, but please do not copy it in any form. All copyrights belong to the owner whom I made it for. Last but not least, please excuse Czech language appearing in the dialog boxes on pictures; I use a localized version of illustrator. The final product will look like this: Step 1 We'll start by making a new document with 180 mm width and height. If you do not like it you can select whatever dimensions you want. Then we will make one horizontal and one vertical guide positioned directly in the center of the document. Select the Ellipse tool (L), create the ellipse, fill it with no color, select black outline and put it in the center of the document. I made one 160 mm high and 40 mm wide. So it will look something like this: Step 2 Now, we are going to copy the ellipse 8 times around the circle. Easiest way to do this is to use Rotate Tool (R). So select the ellipse, click on the Rotate Tool (R), hold down ALT and click on the center of the ellipse, dialog box should appear. Enter 20 in angle and click on copy button. You will get this: Step 3 Now press CTRL+D 7 times and you get to this point: Step 4 We can now delete the guide lines; we do not need them later. The easiest part of this tutorial is done, now we are starting with ant work :-) We need to divide the final product in to small pieces. We are going to make it using Pathfinder. So select all ellipses and go to Window>Pathfinder and click on Divide: Step 5 Now press Shift+CTRL+G to ungroup all objects. We are going to delete all needless objects. It is all 5 inner circles composed of 18 objects. So, 3 outer circles of objects remain as on the picture below. Step 6 We are going to play with gradients now. It will be quite long but the output will be awesome. So let’s start: select the objects with Direct Selection Tool (A) (press Shift and click on each object) and apply a gradient from C30 M100 Y0 K0 to C30 M100 Y0 K80 like the image below: Step 7 Then select another group of 6 objects and apply gradient from C80 M100 Y0 K0 to C80 M100 Y0 K80, here we go: Step 8 Select another following group of 6 objects and apply gradient from C0 M100 Y100 K0 to C0 M100 Y100 K80. You’ll get something like this: Step 9 For now you have enough information to know how to apply gradients for other groups of 6 objects. 4th group gradient from C0 M50 Y100 K0 to C0 M50 Y100 K80 5th group gradient from C0 M0 Y100 K0 to C0 M0 Y100 K80 6th group gradient from C50 M0 Y100 K0 to C50 M0 Y100 K80 7th group gradient from C100 M0 Y100 K0 to C100 M0 Y100 K80 8th group gradient from C100 M0 Y0 K0 to C100 M0 Y0 K80 9th group gradient from C100 M100 Y0 K0 to C100 M100 Y0 K80 If all went well you will get something like this: Step 10 Now we are almost done, just remove the black outlines from all objects. And you are done with the output. This output does not correspond to physics. But applying the gradients to specific directions on each object, which our flower consists of, can make for some pretty awesome effects. It can be done by selecting each object, clicking on a Gradient Tool (G) and playing with it. Like these two examples: Conclusion First example is a bit complicated I will explain it later. Second example goes out from our output made in this tutorial. It was made only by rotating a gradient in proper direction on each object. If you were able to make the second example, then change the Blending mode to Darken and copy it. On the copy - you have to make axial symmetry of each object or gradient. You can make it by axial mirroring or just by rotating the gradient to opposite side of object. If you are done with it, just put the copy over the original one and you will get the output like in the first example. About the Author My name is Tomas Varil. I am from Prague (Czech Republic). I have no design or art school background. I studied electronic computer systems in high school and I now study biology at university. All I have learned in graphic design, I learned by myself, through reading great blogs or web pages like abduzeedo.com. I first started 6 years ago as DTP operator and retoucher. Now I work in advertising agency as a graphic designer and production manager and I am starting my own corporate identity freelance project on www.tomasvaril.com (pages are under construction).

Reader Tutorial: Extinction by Chanito

We have a great tutorial sent by one of our readers, Chanito from Panama. In this tutorial he will show you how to create a good 3D type explosion with Adobe Illustrator, Cinema 4D and Adobe Photoshop. We will use basic tools to make this artwork. Good Luck!!! For more information visit Chanito's Deviantart at http://chanito.deviantart.com/ Step 1 Open Adobe Illustrator and find the font that you want to use in your artwork, in this case I used Xirod Font and tweaked it a little. Make it outline and save it in Adobe Illustrator 8. (Cinema 4D just open vectors in this Adobe Illustrator version). Step 2 Go to Cinema 4D and open your Illustrator file, when you open it in Cinema 4D you can see that it is inside of a group. You need to ungroup them and add the extrude NURBS to each letter of your word. Then when you have each letter with extrude you need to add lights (I used 2 area lights, in the front and the left side) and target camera (optional, you can use whatever you want). Step 3 Well, we have our 3D text and we need to add more details before we go over to Photoshop. We're going to duplicate our 3D object 8 times to make it editable and we are going to add explosion and shatter. You need to play with the settings to see how you want your 3D text to look like. Just apply 3 explosions and 3 shatters to it and make a preview, you will see where to add more details and where not to. Step 4 Go to render settings and put these following settings. Make the render and save in 300 DPI TIFF format with Alpha Channel. Step 5 Take the render into Photoshop, go to the Channels windows and choose the Alpha Channel. Make your selection, cut your 3D text and paste it in another layer. Then you can work just with your 3D text and after, with your background. Step 6 We're going to create the background and paint some areas with dark blue. I used the basic soft brush and 50% opacity to achieve the effect that I wanted. Step 7 Now we're going to add more details to the background and we also need to create some highlights behind the 3D text to make it stand out. Step 8 Time to add some color to our 3D text. You can do this in different ways. I just used the basic soft brush and painted over the 3D letter and made some masks. Step 9 We need to do a special effect to apply in front of our 3D letters. To do this, choose the Gradient Tool and change the mode to Difference. Make gradients in different directions. After, select the text and make a layer mask in this effect layer. Change the blend mode to Soft Light and Opacity to 70% Step 10 Next, select the 3D text, go to Modify - Contract and use 10 to 20 pixels. Delete then deselect and go to Effects - Blur - Motion Blur use Angle: 15 and Distance between 60 to 70 pixels. Step 11 Now we'll add more detail to our 3D text. Choose a good splatter brush and paint wherever you want. To generate the back of the explosion you need to add broken glasses behind text. (http://psdtuts.s3.amazonaws.com/208_Break_Down/pieces.png). Add some highlights to make it stand out. Step 12 Add some shadows inside of the 3D text with the Polygonal Lasso Tool and the Gradient Tool in Black to Transparent. Step 13 Now add some crack brushes in the 3D text to make the explosion more real. Put a crack on the letter you want to brake, in my case, the x. Step 14 Add highlights on the border of each letter to give it a real explosion feeling. To create the beginning of the explosion add a mini explosion brush to the inside corner of the x. Step 15 Make some lines and flares in the explosion point in different ways. Use different colors to give it a great look. Step 16 Add the broken glass image on top of your 3D text and change the Blend Mode to Overlay. Duplicate it, go to Edit - Transform - Flip Horizontal and change the Blend Mode to Normal. FINAL This is the final image. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Amazing Work of Vladimir Tomin

Born in Russia, Vladimir Tomin is the true definition of a graphic illustrator and designer. He has worked professionally with the likes of MTV Worldwide, Reebok, and Adidas, to name a few. From motion graphics to digital art, he does it all! That's why we're featuring him here on Abduzeedo. Enough said, we know his work will inspire you! For more information we highly recommend that you visit Tomin's portfolio at Space-Jump Hi, my name is Tomin Vladimir, but Internet knows me as Myaka. I’m 26, I have diploma of IT specialist, but those 5 IT years was so hard I basically hate computers so after I finished my education I decided to go different way. I had a dream: making motion graphics. So I came to local TV station and told them what I want. They took me in, but of course first time I was working for nothing because I had to learn from almost zero. In a few months I handled After Effects well enough to make intro for one of sport programs. In 1 year I became head designer, and after 2 years of work here I leave for world of advert in peppers studio. So now I have 4.5 years of Motion Graphics About the Author Hello all, I'm Drew W., a 17 year-old student currently residing in the East Coast of the United States. I've been interested in graphic design since I was young, but I'm now dabbling in art management as I'm interested in pursuing a career in business. I work as a Scout at Artician, where I feature aspiring artists and their work. Here at Abduzeedo, I'll be interviewing artists, so if there are any questions you'd like to see answered, post a comment. Enjoy!

Rad Pattern in Illustrator that Makes you Dizzy

Yesterday I was checking a book I have about skateboard decks design called New Skateboard Graphics. It's a super cool book and we have even given a copy away here on Abduzeedo. So while I was flipping through the pages I found this beautiful design that was a crazy pattern. It was a deck from Element, and I decided to try to do that in Illustrator. So in this tutorial I will show you how to create a rad pattern in Illustrator that will definitely make you dizzy. We will use basic tools such as Rectangle Tool, Ellipse Tool and the Blend Tool. Step 1 Open Illustrator and with the Ellipse Tool (L) create a circle. Use black for the Stroke. Step 2 With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select and delete 3 segments of the circle, leave just the bottom right one. Step 3 Duplicate the segment and the rotate it. Use the image below for reference. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) select the 2 vertices and then click on Connect Selected End Points. Choose Corner for the the Join Points option. Step 4 Duplicate the object and bring it down a little bit. With the Direct Selection Tool (A) connect the points to create an object. Use the image below for reference. Step 5 Again with the Direct Selection Tool (A) move the points in the middle of the object. The idea is to make the area of the object a bit thicker. Step 6 Fill the object with black and remove the stroke. After that duplicate and flip the object horizontally. Position them like in the image below. Step 7 Duplicate a few times and group them. Then duplicate the group and move it down at the bottom of the page. With the Blend Tool (B) select the first group and then click on the group at the bottom. Double click on the Blend Tool (B) icon to open the Blend Options. Change the Spacing to Specified Steps to 55. You will have the texture done. Step 8 Create a new document, use 1920x1200 pixels. With the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle and fill it with #394A5F. Step 9 Copy the Blend objects from the other document and paste in this one. Duplicate it untill you feel the whole screen with the texture. Also fill them with white. Step 10 Select the Blend objects and go to Objects>Expand. Then with the Direct Selection Tool (A) select some elements and delete them. Use the image below for reference Step 11 Select all objects except the blue background and to to Effect>Stylize>Drop Shadow... Use Color Burn for the Mode, 40% Opacity, 0 for X Offset, 1px for the Y Offset, 2px for the Blur and Black for the Color. Step 12 Place an old paper texture in your document. The one used is courtesy of Shutterstock and you can download it here. After that change the Transparency to Multiply. Conclusion Using basic tools in Illustrator and an old paper texture we can create very nice patterns with that vintage feel, in this case we have even created a crazy optical illusion. This tutorial as I said was inspired by skateboard deck design from the Element team and It's great to practice with Illustrator. Click on the image for Full Preview Download the AI file Click here to download the Illustrator file used for this tutorial

Zee Logo in Illustrator

A few weeks ago we decided to redesign the Zee logo. When companies redesign their logos, that means, most of the time, that they are changing something in their business, it can be a new strategy, new products, etc... But it's pretty much sure that something is new behind the logo. In our case it's not different, we've changed our business model and decided to create a new logo. With the idea of "Stay in the Loop", I decided to play in Illustrator to create a custom font for it. Also I wanted to make the logo resemble a bit of the Abduzeedo logo. We're still working on the logo and the tag line, but the concept is this one that I will show you here. So in this tutorial I will show you how I created the logo in Illustrator and the splash in Photoshop. Step 1 Open Illustrator and create a new document. Then go to View>Show Grid and then go to View>Snap to Grid. These 2 presets will be very important for us to design the font for the logo. Step 2 With the Rectangle Tool (M) create a rectangle using the grid. Step 3 With the Pen Tool (P) add 4 new points on each segment of the rectangle. After that with the Direct Selection Tool (A) select each one of this points and move them um module of the grid away to create a chamfered corner. Step 4 Lets start creating the Z. Still with the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the segment of the left side of the rectangle and delete it. Step 5 Delete the righ side now still with the Direct Selection Tool (A). Pretty much the whole process will be with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and the Pen Tool (P). Step 6 Now with the Pen Tool (P) click on the point 1 and then on the point 2 to create a diagonal segment. Our Z will be done. Step 7 To create the E will be the same process. First let's delete the right segment of our chamfered rectangle using the Direct Selection Tool (A). Step 8 With the Pen Tool (P) click on the point 1 then holding SHIFT click a few modules down in the grid (point 2). The click again now one module left and dow to create a chamfered corner (point 3). Step 9 Still with the Pen Tool (P) create the segment 1 and the chamfered corner 2. Hold SHIFT to make sure that you're creating straight lines, even though we have activated the Snap to Grid option. After that our E will be done. Step 10 Now just duplicate the E and we will have the word ZEE. Step 11 Go to Effect>Stylize>Round Corners. Use 5 points for the Radius or try different values to increase or reduce the round corners effect. However I didn't like the result I wanted something more stylized. Step 12 So I decided to increase in 2 modules the chamfer effect. Step 13 Now apply the Round Corner effect to the new logo, I still used 5 points for the Radius. The result is much better, it is much more like what I was looking for. But now I need to create a connection between the characters to give the idea of loop. Step 14 To do that it's quite easy. With the Pen Tool (P) create the the segments to connect the Z to the E (1-2) and the E to the other E (3-4). Step 15 Now just increase the stroke size. I'm using 8 points for the stroke. The logo is done. It resembles those subway maps and has this idea of loop, exactly what I wanted. Step 16 Now let's open Photoshop and create a new document. I used 1024x768 pixels for the size. Fill the background layer with a very light blue (#dde9f5). Step 17 Copy the logo from Illustrator and paste it in the Photoshop document. Step 18 Go to Layer>Layer Style>Color Overlay. Use #5d87b6 for the Color and Normal for the Blend Mode. Step 19 Now go to Layer>Layer Style>Inner Shadow. Use Multiply for the Blend Mode, black for the color, 40% for the Opacity, 120º for the Angle, 1 pixel for the Distance, 0 for the Choke and 1 pixel for the Size. Step 20 Now go to Layer>Layer Style>Drop Shadow. Use Color Dodge for the Blend Mode, white for the color, 100% for the Opacity, 90º for the Angle, 1 pixel for the Distance, 1 pixel for the Spread, 0 pixel for the Size. Step 21 This is the effect you will have gotten so far. Step 22 Create a new layer and with the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) create a rectangle selection and fill it with a white to black gradient with the Gradient Tool (G). Use the image below for reference. Step 23 Duplicate the rectangle and go to Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal. Move it so it will be on the other side of the segment of the E (1-2). Duplicate those 2 layers and move to create the same effect on other E (3-4). Step 24 Select the 4 gradient layers and group them. Them holding the Command key on a MAC or the Control key on a PC, click on the thumbnail of the Zee layer in the Layers Panel to create a marquee selection of the Zee logo. After that select the group with the gradient rectangles and go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection. Step 25 Reduce the Opacity of the group with the gradients to 40%. That will make the effect much more subtle. Step 26 Duplicate all layers and merge the copies to a single layer. Then go to Filter>Noise>Add Noise. Use 1.4% for the Amount and select Gaussian for the Distribution and Monochromatic. Conclusion That's it, we have a nice splash. We can add more stroke if we want to make the logo bolder. If you pasted the vectors in Photoshop using Smart Objects that is pretty easy, you can just double click on the smart object to open it in Illustrator and then just play with strokes over there. Now the cool thing is that the logo uses a font created from scratch what makes it quite original and it was really easy to do that in Illustrator using basic tools and the snap to grid option. Click on the image for full preview

Reader Tutorial: 16bits Vector Style Illustration

Mario! everyday he saves the princess! Between some enthusiasts he is a great hero, outside and inside the gamers world, he is one of my favorite characters, so I decided to show how to vectorize a Mario from super nes with illustrator. The same process can be used for any other game or character. What you will need? - A Super Nintendo emulator called Snes9x - Download it here - A rom from Super Mario World - Download it here - Photoshop and Illustrator, in this case I used CS4 - A hot chocolate mug if it's cold, and in case it's hot, lots of coke What you will get? Step 1 Ok, let's open our emulator. Click at the snes9x icon to start the game. Click at File/Load Game or simply ctrl+O. Step 2 Go to the place where you saved the rom of the SMW to run the game and then you need to Open a room (or two clicks). If everything goes right, you will see nintendo's logo and the game will begin. Step 3 Now you need to capture de screen image (print screen) to get our Mario. Then past it at photoshop. Step 4 Now, with the crop tool (C) select only Mario. Step 5 Now we will clean the scenario. You can do that manually with the selection tool or via Color Range. Step 6 Click at the most visible color as below: Step 7 At the 'not selected' parts you can use the selection. In summary: the main thing is to select the character or that it out of it, depends on your method. Mario with the scenario selected, then I pressed delete. Cool! Step 8 After that, open Illustrator. Select our Mario from photoshop and paste it here. Then click on it and go to Live Trace> Tracing Options. Step 9 Select the options as below and give a priority to the option Preview so our result will we showed in real time as the selections are activated. Mode: Color Max Color: 256 Blur: 0px Path: Fitting: 0px Minimun Area: 0px Corner Angle: 0px So do a Trace (at the Mode option, then you can alternate the Color, Greyscale and Black/White), this way you will have different looks in a gameboy style. Go to Object> Expand and click ok. Step 10 Now your image became a Vector, so now ungroup it (Ctrl+Shift+G). Step 11 Select the small dirty parts and the white background that are at the image and delete them. Step 12 Some fonts in a pixel style will do great with our Mario. And our image is ready! You can also do some posters with this, in a bigger size. There is no limit for your creativity... and ok I know that you didn't drink your chocolate or coke. :) I hope you liked the tutorial!! To download the illustrator file from this tutorial click here. About the author My name is Fabrício Falco and I live in Curitiba, Brazil. Actually I've been knocking my head as a freelancer doing some wordpress and joomla websites. Check out my personal website and also add me to your facebook. Edited by GisMullr

Interview and Showcase with the Great Illustrator Phil Dunne

Phil Dunne is an illustrator from Dublin, Ireland, which spent the last 29 years drawing, painting, doodling and having amazingly creative thoughts. From 1999 to 2003 Phil was studying at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) in Dublin to get his degree in Visual Communications. After graduating he started to built his portfolio with several different projects and clients. Since then, Phil has already produced great pieces that you probably already seen around the web or at depthCORE. Here I will show some of his amazing work and also an interview that I had the opportunity to do with him. Unfortunately the interview was settled via e-mail, even tough I would love to go to Dublin for this, but even through e-mails Phil was very kind and gave us a lot of attention, which by the way, I would like to thank him for. When browsing around his great portfolio Love the Robot and also at his Behance page, I had a hard time picking the images to show here since he has several eye catching pieces, so I really recommend that you check out his work!! So, enjoy the images and the interview! :) When you first got interested about art and design? For as long as I can remember, I have always been drawing and thinking about art. I grew up on comic books, cartoons and doodling in my school books. I always wanted to do art in school, I never ever had any interest in other school work or anything else except drawing. When I was in school I read a lot about artists like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and a lot of The Renaissance painters. Their work really inspired me to draw and paint and most of express myself. I also watched endless amounts of music videos and loved the work of Michel Gondry, Hype Williams, Chris Cunningham and Mark Romanek. I wanted to go to art college to be either a painter or a designer. I was happy to find out I could be almost both, as an illustrator! My inspiration and desire to be an illustrator just kept growing as I progressed in college. How did you discovered your talent for producing art? When I was in school, my teachers would pay me with chocolate bars and small amounts of money to draw all these pictures so the rest of the class could color them, like big huge coloring books. I used to get called out of my classes sometimes to draw for other teachers and their students. I went to an all boys Irish Christian Brothers school and there was a lot of emphasis on religion and we would incorporate religion into our art. I drew a lot of pictures of Jesus, God and the Devil. I also used to draw things like Superman and Batman, I'd hide them away but my friends would also show the teachers how good I was. But school was tough because when it came to doing other things like mathematics, science and sports I was completely lost. How did you start working with design and illustration? I left college in 2003, I worked as an illustrator on a series of roughs for a children's book. It was very traditionally based, all paint and pencils, absolutely no Photoshop. I got a job as a display assistant and designer in a huge department store here in Dublin. I got to design leaflets, signage and create illustrations for retail areas, fashion shows and press ads. But I also discovered my love of fashion, styling and retail so I was very lucky to gain such experience. During my free time working there I began to develop my own style of illustration. I looked at artists like Deanne Cheuk, Justin Maller, Pete Harrison, Derek Lea and was just amazed and inspired by their level of skill and professional work ethic. Their work was crazy beautiful but it was very successful in a commercial manner. I just did a heap of research on my favorite illustrators to see how their creative processes would work. I knew I wanted to be an illustrator so I kept working to discover a balance between my love of traditional illustration and digitally manipulated art. I focused on becoming an established illustrator and trying to better myself and giving people something to enjoy. How did you improve your work and technique? I've always been described as a hard worker and a very efficient person. I'm always looking at ways to improve on my workflow. I upgrade a lot of my hardware and software regularly just to make things run more smoothly for me. I get stressed when I'm working a big piece in Photoshop, I haven't pressed 'Save' and then it just freezes up!!! I make a lot of my own brushes in Photoshop. I scan in bits of dirt and paint or old pictures to give all my work a very unique and personalized look. It's fun to build your own library of brushes and textures. I try spent at least a week a month collecting bits of rubbish that could work as a really cool texture in Photoshop. I also do my best to draw as much as I can. You can spend all day sitting at Photoshop and turn into a zombie. I read about some artists who just fire up Photoshop and start working. I couldn't do this, I think any artist needs a sketchbook to rough out ideas, compositions and brainstorm techniques to get the best out of their work. I carry a sketchbook around with me so I can scribble out any impulsive images that pop into my head. I'm trying my best now to avoid using stock imagery. I hate seeing a digital art piece that you know has been based around a random stock image, and then you see the same image being used somewhere else in a completely different context. If I do need to use stock images, I use shots that are rarely used and have something different looking about them. If you can collaborate with a professional photographer that have their own recognized name and style then do that too. Or just shoot your own photography! What, in your opinion, is the best way to evolve in this field? Learn about the current trends in art/design/illustration/fashion and avoid them!!! The best way to stay fresh is to do your own thing and not imitate what has been done already. Yes, I can admit I've done some Andy Warhol style pieces (!) but I look at this as an homage and a kind of reinterpretation, much like Picasso when he started doing famous paintings, but in his own style. But I was having fun with it and reinterpreting his iconography to suit my ideas and my style. I thought, 'everybody knows his work so they will understand me taking the piece.' Every artist has their own style and potential it's just a matter of finding it and making people see it. I think illustrators should be more confident about their own ideas and conceptual work rather than just feeling like they should fit into the crowd or go with what they think will get them work. A great line that a friend gave to me years back was 'Remember Phil, the rest are all sheep...you are a wolf!' What do you like most on your job? And what would you say you don't like about it? I love that I am able to do art everyday, I waited so long in school to be able to draw and create on a full time basis. I'm addicted to my work...I've never done drugs so art is really my habit I can't kick. Seriously it's not even funny sometimes how obsessed I get with my work. I'm always trying to better my style and try new things so right now the journey is better than the destination. I love drawing, it's the best way to express yourself. I hate not getting paid on time or when a potential job doesn't go ahead. It knocks your confidence into the stratosphere. I grew a thick skin very quickly when I started out. Also I hate people asking me to work for free. It really pisses me off now, it's incredibly insulting to be asked by a company that is obviously generating a lot of money to work for nothing. I am cool with charity based projects however, I feel a lot better when it's going to a good cause. Which software and hardware do you use to produce your art? I own a 24' Intel based iMac with 4GB of RAM and a big hard drive. It is superb for adding fine detail to my work as the screen resolution is so sharp and the colors are so vibrant. I use Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended. My work isn't very layered, the best pieces are around five layers with different layer blending modes. I find the best way to add depth and complexity to my work is in the drawings I do. My drawings are done to a large scale, scanned in at around 600dpi, so everything is very sharp and vibrant. I back up everything with an external drive and keep a separate copy on a DVD or a USB stick on my keys, incase somebody might need anything emailed to them. I just bought a little netbook to use while I'm out and about. I don't get much sun here in ireland, it is very important for Vitamin D and my mood. The last thing I want to be is in a room on a computer when the sun is out. So my netbook is my right arm on sunny days. What kind of "software upgrade" you would say it would make your work much easier? If somebody could invent an application that could take what I see in my mind and put it up on my iMac screen then I would be delighted. And a teleportation device, like in Star Trek. I get panicky when I'm running late or when I'm tired so to be somewhere in an instant would be very useful. Seriously though a better lasso/magic wand tool on Photoshop would be nice. And better customization on Photoshop would be cool too, like having the ability to completely reconfigure the filter galleries and tools to suit your needs. What is your main inspiration source? It changes all the time! I can never really say specifically at what inspires me. I think life is very inspirational. The ability to create and to experience it's reaction gives me a great buzz. Life is so random, you just never know what will happen next. I like strange coincidences and weird events. And people doing something that's not considered everyday, I like asking them a lot of questions. Which are your goals and future plans for your career? I want to get over my fear (and hatred :0 ) of photography and start shooting models and incorporate them into illustrations. I want spend a bit more money on personal projects so they fit in seamlessly with my commercial work. I'm thinking now, particularly during this super famous global recession, 'If people won't commission me...I'll commission myself.' I want to avoid using women in my illustrations. I'm getting sick of seeing a hot girl with a lot doodles around her. When I completed my work on the recent Depthcore pack called 'Her' I was like...I've done this to death, a hot girl with swirls. Let's get some guys, monsters, scary creatures or superheroes and start doing pieces with them. I now like to see a cool illustration that features a guy as the model/basis. I need to move on and look at different areas to explore. I think architecture would be cool interpret in illustration, because Dublin just has such unique architecture and it's always inspiring to me. Plus more work with the Depthcore collective...mad respect to all my fellow members, to have joined them and to be involved with all the artists there has been an absolute blessing. I have been very lucky to have had the opportunities and experiences in my career so far, I'm still very young and have a lot to learn and there is so much more to share with everyone. Do you have any advises to the upcoming artists? Never give up. If you get knocked back by anyone or anything, dust it off and start again. You have to consider the progressive nature of the design industry and realize that one commission won't make you an overnight success. The best digital artists and designers out there are the dedicated ones because they are trying something new, being confident about what they do. If you stay confident and focused this will show in your work, people will see it and they will want to hire you. Branch out and contact other artists...like me! ;D, ask to collaborate with them and stay fresh. Keep up with the latest trends in digital art, design, art and fashion and just avoid them. Create your own trends, I know that sounds easy to say, but if you work at it and think about it enough, you'll do it. Artists who are successful are the ones who come from the left of centre because they were doing their own thing. I've only started using Facebook, Twitter and soon Youtube...the potential for these are limitless so explore things like these. Thanks again Phil... and the final words are with you... Thank you so much. And to finalize I have three simple words...Love The Robot.

Meat Text Effect in Photoshop

Last week I published a tutorial showing how to mix a custom font created in Illustrator with some stock photos of milk to create a nice effect. Now on this tutorial we will sort of repeat the technique but this time using stock photos of meat and add perspective to create a word made from beefs. Also we will play with blurs to create a depth of field effect. We will use Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop to create the composition also I will be using images from Shutterstock, but feel free to use the stock photos you want. Step 1 In Adobe Illustrator create a new document and go to View>Show Grid and View>Snap to Grid. Then with the Rectangle Tool (M) create 4 squares that will be the 4 letters of the word MEAT. After that select the Pen Tool (P) and create the letters M, E, A and T like the image below. Step 2 As we're going to create a font made from meat, it's necessary to make the letters with round corners. To do that, select the letters and go to Effects>Stylize>Round Corners. Use 10 pixels for Radius. Step 3 Copy the letters from Illustrator and paste them in Photoshop in different layers. Each letter will be in a layer. Step 4 Let's use a photo of a beef for the first letter, the photos I'm using are from Shutterstock as I got a susbcription to download quite a few images per day. But you can use different images. This one can be downloaded at http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-3079359-piece-of-a-beef-on-white.html Step 5 Holding the Command (MAC)/Control (PC) click on the thumbnail of the layer of the letter M to create a marquee selection liket the image below. Step 6 Go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal Selection. But as we can see the edges are too perfect so we will need to make them less uniform. Step 7 Let's create a brush to paint the mask then we will be able to make the edges more real and less uniform. Go to Window>Brushes and then select a regular brush preset, then use the settings below for the Brush Tip Shape, Shape Dynamics, Texture and Other Dynamics. Step 8 With the Brush Tool (B) select the brush we have just created and then in the Layer Palettes click on the thumb of the layer mask. Using white for the color paint over the edges of the letter like the image below. Step 9 Repeat the same thing we did on the Steps 4, 5, 6, and 8 for the E, the image I used can be downloaded at http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-3681127-raw-ribeye-steak.html Step 10 Again for repeat the same technique for the A. The image I used the same image as the previous step but I rotated it to use another part of the beef. Step 11 For the T I used another stock photo, you can download it here. Step 12 The letters M and T need some color adjustments. Select the T and go to Image>Adjustment>Brightness /Contrast. Use 50 for the Brightness. Do the same with the letter M. Step 13 Let's reduce the saturation of the M. Select the M image and go to Image>Adjustments>Hue/Saturation. Use -26 for the Saturation and 8 for the Lightness. Step 14 Let's add wooden texture to create the board or table where the beefs will be on. The one I used was from Shutterstock as well and you can download it at: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-23743900-wooden-texture.html Step 15 Select the 4 letters and go to Layer>Smart Objects>Convert to Smart Objects. Then go to Edit>Transform>Distort. After that holding the Shift Key distort the layer like the image below. Step 16 Now that the beefs are in the right perpsective go to Layer>Layer Style>Bevel and Emboss. Use Inner Bevel for the Style, Chisel Soft for the Technique, 530% for the Depth, Down for the Direction, 30 pixels for the Size and 10 pixels for the Soften. Also on the Shading options use 90º for the Angle, 0 for the Altitude, Black color for the Highlight Mode with Linear Burn and 30% Opacity. For the Shadow Mode use Overlay change the opacity to 0%. Step 17 After the Bevel and Emboss select the Drop Shadow Option. Use Color Burn with black for the color and 90% for the opacity. For the Angle use 90º, 9 pixels for the Distance, 0 for the Spread and 10 Pixels for the Size. Step 18 After the Layer Styles your meat will be like the image below. To make the beefs thicker or thinner, just change the values of the Bevel and Emboss. Step 19 Add an image for the background and go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 20 or more for the radius that way the backgound image will be out of focus. Step 20 You can add more elements like vegetables I added letuce to give a nice green to the image. You can download the one I used over here. Step 21 Select all layers that are used to create the composition and go to Layer>Merge Layers. Then go to Layer>Layer Mask>Reveal All. Select the Gradient Tool (G) and using the black and white preset fill the mask with a gradient with the black from the top to white (1). After that go to Filter>Blur>Lens Blur. Use Faster for the Preview, for the Depth Map use Layer Mask . For the Blur Focal Distance use 75 and Invert. Over the Iris Options, use Hexagon for the Shape and change the Radius to 30. Press OK. The Lens Blur will create a nice depth of field effect. Conclusion Well, the effect is pretty much done, even though the word is a bit difficult to read, that was the idea to create the word with beefs. You can add your logo and more elements, however the most important thing will br to try to match the perspective, otherwise the effect won't be so convincing. With this technique you will be able to create some nice photo manipulations. I hope the tutorial was useful and let me know your opinion or suggestions for future tutorials. Another example You can try different perspectives as well, the idea is just to play with the tool ;) Download the Files Download the Photoshop file used for this tutorial

Awesome Milk Typography Effect in Photoshop

Following the series of effects with text, there were the Water, Clouds, Light, and also some time ago the Frilly Bits... Now I will show you how to create a nice effect I saw a few months ago on DeviantArt that is a text mixed with some milk splashes. We will use Photoshop and Illustrator for this tutorial. The idea is very simple, I used some stock photos and a very blocky typeface. Instead of wasted my time looking for the perfect font, I decided to create it in Illustrator. So the first steps I will show you how to create the font and then in the others, in Photoshop, I will show you how to mix that with the photos. Step 1 Open Adobe Illustrator and go to View>Show Grid. Then select the Rectangle Tool (M) and create 2 squares and 2 rectangels like the image below. Step 2 To create the M select the Pen Tool (P) and add 2 points 2 blocks away from the center. Step 3 Add 2 more points and the move then nudge them up 2 blocks. Step 4 Now add another point in the very middle of the line and then nudge that point down 1 block. Use the image below for reference. Step 5 To finish the M, again with the Pen Tool (P) add 3 new points but move only the middle one down. Step 6 For the other letters it's pretty much the same, use the Pen Tool (P) and use the same technique we used for the M. Use the image below for reference. Step 7 Open Photoshop and create a new document, I used 1920x1200 pixels for the size. Then copy the letters from Illustrator and paste them in Photoshop. Each font has to be in one layer. The Background will be black white the word will be white. Step 8 To create the milk splashes I used some stock photos. You can download the first image at http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-27264406-splash-in-a-milk-glass.html. Step 9 Copy the image and paste in the document. Go to Edit>Transform>Scale and resize it so it fits the width of the M. With the Eraser Tool (E) delete some areas at the bottom of the photos. Also with the Stamp Tool (S) paint the parts where you can see the glass, the idea is to hide the glass and leave just the milk parts. Step 10 With the Eraser Tool (E) erase the part of character M on the top right corner where the effect wasn't looking really nice with the milk spalsh. Step 11 For each character we will use a different photo, that way the effect will look more convincing. You can use only one and just tweak it with the warp tool as well. The photo I used for the "I" can be downloaded at http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-12058783-splash-in-a-milk-glass.html Step 12 Paste the image in the photoshop document then with the Magic Wand Tool (W) select the black area of the image and delete it. Go to Edit>Transform>Rotate. Also resize it so it fit with the width of the "I" Step 13 With the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) delete the bottom part of the image where you could see the glass, then select an area that is uniform and go to Edit>Transfor>Scale. Make the area much higher like the image below and then with the Eraser Tool (E) use a very soft brush and delete the bottom of the milk splahs until you have a very smooth transition. You can move down the whole splash a little bit as well. Step 14 Try to look for different images for each characters, for the L I used another photo from Shutterstock, you can download it at http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-10532656-milk-splash-against-dark-background.html. Then repeat the same thing we did for the other letters to match the image with the text. Step 15 For the K I used another image that you can find at http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-15459070-milk-splash-on-a-blue-background.html. The first thing to do is convert it to greyscale. Go to Image>Adjustment>Desaturate. After that go to Image>Adjustment>Levels. Increase the Black Input until you have almost a black background, then with the Magic Wand Tool (W) select and delete the background of the splash image. Go to Edit>Transform>Scale and move it and resized it to match the width of the K, then with the Eraser Tool (E) delete some areas of the splash like the image below. Tip: use the [ and ] to increase or reduce the Eraser size, it's very important to delete the right areas to make the effect more realistic. Try to follow the flow of the milk. Step 16 Select the K and with the Eraser Tool (E) delete the top right corner of the letter. Step 17 As we used different images and some of them had some color variations, such as the images over the M and L. So to make them look more uniform go to Layer>New Adjustment Layer>Gradient Map. Select the Reverse option and that will be enough to make the splashes look the same. Step 18 To create the Depth of Field effect, just copy a part of one of those images that have quite a few drops and paste in the document, in my case I used the top right corner of the image used in the step 15. Copy and paste it in the document and again, go to Image>Adjustments>Desaturate, and Image>Adjustments>Levels increasing the Black Input to make the background turn to black. After that go to Edit>Transform>Scale and make it much bigger and go to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 15 for the amount. Conclusion Click on Control/Command + Alt + Shift + E to create a new layer with all the layers merged. Then go again to Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur. Use 10 pixels for the amount. After that change the Blend Mode to Screen and the Opacity to 50%. Also place your logo and the effect is practicaly done. You can add more splashes or try different colors. The idea is basicaly to learn how to mix the milk splashes with the vector text and make them look real. I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and let me know if you have suggestions for this or other tutorials. Click on the image for full preview. Download the Photoshop and Illustrator files Click here to download the Photoshop and Illustrator files used for this tutorial

Illustrator Quick Tips #2 - Scatter Brushes

Brushes are very useful in Photoshop. We may create all sorts of effects, from clouds to grunge brushes and many others. In lllustrator it is no different, actually it's easier to create and use brushes than in Photoshop because you can preview how they will look and edit them in real time, what makes a big difference. Creating brushes is really simple: just drag a shape to the brush panels and that's it! You got yourself a brand new brush. Step 1 Open Illustrator and create a new document. Type the text you want or use your logo. I've used the Abduzeedo logo for this one. Step 2 Create some basic shapes that will be used to create the brushes. I've used an ellipse, a triangle and a square. Then go to Window>Brushes to open the Brushes Panel. With the Brushes Panel opened now just drag the shapes into it to create a new Brush. A dialog box will appear, then choose New Scatter Brush and press OK. Step 3 Let's edit the first Scatter Brush. You will have 4 main settings: Size, Spacing, Scatter, and Rotation. Change the size, spacing and scatter to Random and use the values below. Also for the Colorization use Hue Shift. Step 4 Apply the brush to the logo. I used a light blue for the stroke. Step 5 Repeat the same thing using the triangle brush, you may open the Edit Dialog Box by double clicking on the brush. Use yellow for the color. Step 6 Now let's edit the square brush, repeat the same technique used for the other brushes and use pink for the color. Step 7 Click on the Brush Library Menu icon (1) and select Decorative then Decorative Scatter to open that library. Select the Dot Rings brush (2). Then edit the brush and once again play with the Size and Spacing, after that just apply it to another copy of the logo. Step 8 Now just align the 4 different versions of the logo and you will have a very nice effect. You may try differentthe stroke orders, like pink in the front or yellow for example. Step 9 Just another variation using only the dot rings brush and then apply a Gaussian Blur (Effect>Blur>Gaussian Blur) to some elements to create a depth of field effect. Conclusion The brush engine in Illustrator is as powerful as in Photoshop or maybe even more powerful because we can edit the stroke settings anytime. It's a nice technique and if you want, you can expand the appearance creating shapes from the stroke and apply the 3D extrude filter to create a very cool effect. Click here to download the AI file Click here to download the Illustrator file used for this tutorial